Sources: Interest in Pedro heating up

BY Ken Rosenthal • April 23, 2009

Pedro Martinez could be coming soon to a ballpark near you.

Interest in the free-agent right-hander has intensified, according to major-league sources. Martinez will resume throwing off a mound Friday and could make a decision within the next two weeks, one source said.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins told the Los Angeles Times this week that he has contacted the agents for Martinez, but the two sides have not spoken in more than two weeks, according to a source.

Mike Rizzo, the Nationals' acting GM, acknowledged to Thursday that his team had "mild" interest in Martinez. The Rangers have "some" interest, according to a source, but do not expect to be "the leader in the clubhouse."

Rizzo said he personally saw Martinez thrown an inning in the Dominican Republic before the World Baseball Classic in March, and that the Nationals scouted Martinez during the WBC.

"Unless we got to a point where the price makes sense to us, we're very satisfied with what we've got in our rotation," Rizzo told "It's really young, but we think it's got a lot of upside.

"That (Martinez) would give us depth at the right number. We've kicked the tires a few times. But it hasn't really gone anywhere past that."

Once Martinez picks a team, he likely would begin his comeback in the minors. He pitched twice for the Dominican Republic against the Netherlands in the WBC, working six scoreless innings.

Since then, he has been working out regularly in the Dominican, but mostly playing long toss. His return to the mound is a strong indication that he is preparing to return to the majors in the near future.

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